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April 19, 2013 | last updated April 19, 2013 10:58 am

MNG, XNG ink natural gas deal

Boston-based Xpress Natural Gas and Iberdrola subsidiary Maine Natural Gas have signed a letter of intent to cooperate in expanding natural gas service in the Augusta region before a natural gas pipeline is constructed.

Through the agreement, Maine Natural Gas, which is competing with Summit Natural Gas of Maine for capital-area customers, will provide piped gas to XNG. XNG will then truck the gas to customers in the area.

The companies refer to the plan as creating a "rolling pipeline" that can reach new customers in the short-term, while a pipeline is under construction, and also in the long-term to areas where they say a pipeline might not be feasible for several years.

XNG currently has a distribution hub in Baileyville.

With the announcement, MNG reported it has installed more than 4.5 miles of pipe in the Augusta area and is installing around 1,000 feet per day there.

In January, XNG signed into a partnership with Bangor-based Dead River Co. to distribute trucked-in natural gas, primarily to commercial clients.

Bob Kump, CEO of Iberdrola USA, said in a prepared statement that the move represents the company's commitment to get the cheaper fuel "to as many Maine customers as possible and as quickly as possible."

In Augusta, particularly, MNG and Summit have long competed for clients as both companies begin to lay pipelines there.

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